For this article, Basheer Ghorayeb, co-editor of the Energy Litigation journal, interviewed Jones Day labor and employment attorneys Brian Jorgensen, a partner in the firm’s Dallas office, and Joanne Bush, a partner in the firm’s Houston office, about unpaid wage claims being brought against oil and gas companies:
Brian, Joanne, I know that employers in many industries have had to defend against class actions for unpaid wages. Do you see the same types of cases being filed against oil and gas employers?
Jorgensen: Absolutely. Many industries have been targeted by the plaintiffs’ wage-hour bar, and the oil and gas industry has not been spared. We are seeing a rise in these types of cases against our oil and gas clients.
Bush: The stakes are often very high in these cases, and plaintiffs have a relatively low burden in obtaining class certification early. Many times, the best defense is to be proactive before a lawsuit is filed to help ensure that current practices comply with federal, state, and local laws.